Skip to content
Skip to left navigation


Broadening and Narrowing Vocabulary

Earlier we discussed narrowing and broadening a research question. Vocabulary can also be broadened or narrowed to find different types of sources. This chart suggests some alternative vocabulary for the following research question:

"Should Native Americans practice religious and social customs that violate local and Federal laws? "

Keyword(s) Broader Related Narrower
Native Americans Indigenous peoples, North American history Indians, Amerinds, North American Indians Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Wiyot, Tolowa, etc.
Customs Social systems, anthropology Marriage, social relations, spirituality, rites and ceremonies, religion, culture Lodge house(s), hunting, fishing, dances, etc.
Law Criminal justice, U.S. Constitution, constitutional law Legislation, crimes, treaty rights Bureau of Indian Affairs,
NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ), cases (e.g. Jessie Short)


Broader terms. What broad disciplines or subjects may address your research question?

Related terms. Synonyms and other terms that describe issues or activities that relate to your key concepts.

Narrower terms. Specific examples of your key concepts. These might be cases, events, names, places, etc.